A cold December morning. Christmas card perfect. Dad and mom with two young boys on their way to visit Grandma and Grandpa. Mom has the map out, giving directions to dad as he navigates the family car toward a Christmas Day meal with all the fixin's.
72,000 pound rig with a driver at the wheel who stayed a little too long at his girlfriend's home. He thinks of that special moment when he revealed his feelings toward her. He picks up the cell phone and begins tapping in her number, one call just to reassure her that he was being truthful and he would be thinking of her every moment this trip. His thumb presses the last number, but he never hears her answer.
On her end she hears a horn blowing. It's kinda like in the distance, but it's not the air horn on his rig. It's more like that stupid car horn that is blown when he pushes that emblem in the center of the steering wheel. "How odd," she thinks as she checks the number calling her. Yes...yes, it's his number. Then she presses the phone back to her ear and hears him crying and saying over and over "God, noo... Ohhhh God, NNNOOOO!"
Yeah... I was there. I was southbound. The family and the rig were northbound. From my vantage point, unfortunately, I was able to witness this entire thing. I saw the impact. I watched the rig begin to slide. I witnessed the snow being knocked 50 feet into the air. It was all in a slow motion to me, almost like I could get out of my rig, run across the highway, and take part in the incident.
Later, as the driver was "cuffed an' stuffed," I heard the driver asking a highway patrolman, "How could this happen to me!"
As I gave my account to another officer, he shook his head in disbelief. He said, "I have a feeling that man will have a long time to answer the question of 'why me' for himself." We were standing next to the overturned rig. The Officer and I shook hands as he finished taking down my info. I turned to head back to my rig, and I was stunned to hear a small voice crying and repeating "Gary...Dear God Gary please answer meee Gary." I looked back and down to where the tiny voice was coming from....and there, in the still-burning headlights of the rig, was the driver's cellphone.
Traffic was backed up on both sides of the highway. I remember some lunatic in a rig headed south becoming enraged and layin' on the air horn to let the rubberneckers know he was not happy at being delayed. I thought to myself, "whatta idiot." And as I climbed back into my warm home away from home I thought, "Thank God it wasn't me."
Over the course of my life as a driver, I have seen horrible accidents that would make even the hardest of hearts turn to mush. I myself have been spared of these tragedies, but I have come too close for comfort many times.
Driver, now I'm talking straight to you. If you've read this far, I hope and pray you would learn a lesson.
I could sit here for another hour or so and pound out on this keyboard all the statistical numbers that are used to prove why you should never have your attention off the road for even a split second. I could also be far more brutal in my descriptions and details. But it doesn't matter how something is demonstrated if you don't care.
YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for your actions. Every one of them. Even one so small as to call someone you love.
I welcome your response to this.